My September 2011 column was written specifically for Student and Young Professional members of AAPG. We received so much feedback that we’re revisiting this topic for February’s column – this time with co-authors Nick Lagrilliere and Richard Ball, chairpersons, respectively, of the AAPG Young Professional and Student Chapter committees.
In my September column I discussed why professional societies are important to your future career, and why Students and Young Professionals should consider joining AAPG in particular. This topic seemed to strike a nerve. This column is a reply to the many comments that we received.
As previously mentioned, the adjacent graph shows the distribution of membership by age. The large peak associated with Students and Young Professionals (YPs, ages 21-30) signifies the long-term critical aspect of AAPG’s future success, namely recruiting and retaining you as new members, and welcoming you into the Association.
To set the stage, consider these two stark realities: First, as of 2011, the current retention of Student Members after graduation is less than 9 percent. When these numbers are projected into the future, AAPG’s membership is static to slowly declining – a topic that I will examine in greater detail in a future column. Second, HQ has a hard time locating students once they have graduated.
The feedback from my September column fell into two categories:
All of these are legitimate concerns.
We’ll address these concerns, while also reviewing three programs that are designed to transition Students and Young Professionals into the AAPG.
AAPG also nurtures the leaders of Student Chapters. This year, the Student Chapter Committee will launch phase II of the James A. Hartman Local-Student Chapter Leadership Summit (L-SCLS) program. Four successful pilot programs were held in 2011. During the summits Chapter officers come together to network, learn about other successful chapter programs and events, and build on each chapter’s lessons learned.
In 2012 the SCC also will complete its restructuring process, at which point every Region and Section will have a liaison for both Student and Young Professional questions and program development. More details on these committees will be updated in upcoming EXPLORER articles. By providing Students and Young Professionals with these resources, we look to aid them in building their professional networks around the globe.
In summary, we offer a geologic call to arms! To all Students and Young Professionals, here is an open invitation to engage in AAPG activities. The best way to get started is to just jump in. Find a colleague or subject you’d like to work with, and invest a few hours of time into your future.
Arnold Bouma, the 2007 Sidney Powers’ Medalist, died in mid-December. Arnold made a major investment in my early career by offering me unprecedented publication opportunities based on my research activities. I would likely have never become a professor or been elected AAPG president had Arnold not opened these doors for me. His actions serve as a reminder of the significant role that individuals can make in other’s careers (i.e. those of us to the right of the 26-30 age category on the graph), a role that we all need to emulate for the Young Professionals and Students entering our field. I am forever indebted to Arnold for his support – he will be sorely missed.
Paul Weimer, AAPG President (2011-12), is a geology professor at
the University of Colorado, Boulder.